Gallery: Story-rich exhibits opening at McBride Gallery, Maryland Hall and MFA in Annapolis

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Those of us who live in the art world have a unique opportunity. We get to experience a variety of reactions to a single artwork or a themed body of work.

Discussions with viewers — from the completely art naive to the seasoned art collector — is enlightening for both the artist and the visitor. My favorite conversations are with people who, for the first time, are pulled to a piece of art because of an unexpected visceral reaction.

As they work to describe what drew them to it, they learn about themselves, what appeals to them and why. As an artist, of course, I want my pieces to stand alone without need for description, but when the opportunity presents itself to provide insight or help someone find within him or herself something as yet unarticulated, it adds even more life to the work.

It is an education for both of us: We discover commonalities, and identify and appreciate different emotions and perspectives, realizing that different is neither good nor bad — just different. Through this, the true value of art is revealed — connection.

Talk with artists at the story-rich exhibits at McBride Gallery, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts and Maryland Federation of Arts; in fact all of the exhibits this month are great opportunities. Hearing their stories and sharing your thoughts, you can learn more than expected; you can discover something new within yourself. Happy exploring!

McBride Gallery presents a unique exhibition of visual art that tells a story: “The ART of Story Telling: A Narrative Show.” Often powerful, it quickly engages our imagination. Whether from a life experience, memory, or culture, we find ourselves mentally telling the story of the painting or sculpture.

Ten painters and two sculptors have been selected for this distinctive exhibition, which runs through June 24. Imaginative and beloved by children and the young-at-heart, Russian-American painter Victor Nizovtsev shares his unique “storied” oil paintings. John Payne takes the viewer back into history with his detailed renditions of famous events. Sculptors Lori Kiplinger Pandy and Deanne McKeown reveal their appreciation of both history and humor in their creations.

Figurative works bring out the story telling in painters Cynthia Feustel, Sherrill Cooper, Ilene Stanfield, John Murray and Scott Lloyd Anderson. The family farm, with old tractors, barns and nature have a storied past in many families and in paintings by Charlie Hunter, Lou Messa and Abigail McBride. The show opens with a reception to meet the artists from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, with an art conversation at 2 p.m.

The Maryland Federation of Art Circle Gallery presents two exhibits running now through May 26, with a reception for both exhibits from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday:

Main Gallery: The annual Spring Member Show is an annual all-media exhibition of 2- and 3-dimensional works created by MFA members. Juried by John Shipman, associate director of development at the University of Delaware, this exhibit is a wonderful representation of the range of creativity and talent MFA members offer the art community.

Holley Gallery: “Elizabeth Kendall: Altered States” — Like a couturier, Kendall creates custom adornments. Her clients, though, are walls and pedestals; her materials are clay, wood, fiber and glass. She brings opposites together fluidity and resilience, light and shadow, line and volume. The result is a closet of varied 3-D works that can tell any number of stories.

Paul’s Homewood Cafe continues the exhibit by MFA members Kathy Gardiner and Yuriy Zador. On display through June 4, the combination of Gardiner’s work, which is an array of distinguished landscapes, seascapes and reflections, accompanied by Zador’s found object, mixed-media paintings is quite stunning.

49 West Coffeehouse presents “Modern Affinities,” running through May 30. This exhibition displays works by two painters painting as one. Matthew Malone and Kurtis Ceppetelli revisit and reinterpret old master paintings with a modern eye, using latex paint and charcoal on canvas. Join them for a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday.

The Annapolis Collection Gallery is planning a special evening event for artist Shannon Troxler in mid-May. A graduate of the Schuler School of Fine Art in Baltimore, she learned to appreciate the craft of art and the traditions of the old masters. Continuing her studies with David Laffel at the Art Students League in New York, she developed a deep appreciation for the craft of classical art.

She continues to explore new mediums and methods in her studio in Wilson, Wyoming. Her current exhibit at the Annapolis Collection Gallery demonstrates her exploration into Asian art, and is a series of paintings on gold and silver leaf with each piece focusing on bold composition and elegant line. Her images are rooted in nature but take flight in whimsical imagination with Asian inspired touches. Meet the artist at her opening reception from 6:30 to 9 p.m. May 19.

Mitchell Gallery at St. John’s College is hosting “New Dimensions: Works from the Anne Arundel Community College Visual Arts Faculty,” opening May 23. This collection of more than 40 works includes both full-time and part-time visual arts instructors, including drawings, paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photography and mixed media.

The inspiration for this exhibition stems from the recognition of these instructors as more than teachers and mentors, but their roles as artists. The strongest works from each member was selected and the result displays the diversity of vision they possess as a faculty. Many of the instructors have received recognition through a range of venues such as the Maryland State Arts Council, Baker Award nomination, representative pieces in the collection at the Maryland Government House, and participation in events in many prestigious institutions. This exhibition remains on view through June 13.

Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts opens three exhibits in May running through July 7, with a reception for all three exhibits held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. May 24:

Chaney Gallery: “Masks and Mirrors: Explorations of Identity” by Elaine Weiner-Reed opens May 15. Paintings are paired with audio companion soundtracks — thoughtful, reflective content designed to engage more of the guests’ imagination and curiosity and self-exploration. Video and 3-D works, including handmade and other masks, will be incorporated, along with mirrors and an "identity station" for the interactive participation of visitors. Weekly engagement hours with the artist will be scheduled to open pathways to creative collaboration and dialogue.

Martino Gallery, also opening May 15: “Faces: Drawings and Paintings by Stephanie Scarlata” is an exhibition inviting visitors to focus on commonalities with others rather than anything else. She says, “Although no two faces share the same story, we do share in that we are all here, doing our best with what we have to feed someone, to teach someone, to protect someone, to better someone else's life and that story is unifying.”

Openshaw Balcony Gallery: “A Brush With Nature” by the Annapolis Watercolor Club. This exhibition of entirely new work by members of the club includes subjects of wildlife, sea life, birds, beasts, flowers and landscapes.

From May 21 through June 4, West Annapolis Artworks and Fine Framing presents work by Erica Mizutami, a Brazilian urban artist that comes to Annapolis after an art residency in Miami. The result of a partnership between Urban Walls Brazil and Carre 55 aiming to promote cultural exchange and art education programs in public schools, she will paint a mural at the Maryland Theater for the Performing Arts site and give a workshop to local children. Meet the artist from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 30.

The Galleries at Quiet Waters Park continues “Under the Same Sky” through May 20. Inspired by the book, “Soil, Soul, and Society, A New Trinity for our Time” by Satish Kumar, Maureen S. Farrell and Kellee Wynne Conrad seek to express the deeper meaning of how we are all connected by these three intrinsic elements. Both artists present work that provokes the viewer to think about their relationship to the earth and one another. The two artists share a style of artwork that from a distance can allow the viewer to take a step closer and allow the layers to reveal their story.

Opening May 23 and running through July 8 in the galleries is the “Maryland Society of Portrait Painters All Members Exhibit.” A wide variety of media will be on display at this exhibit of portraiture including oil, pastels, charcoal, pencil, sculpture and composite works. Join them for an opening reception from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. June 3.

Annapolis City Hall Art Gallery continues “New Homeland” by three-time U.S. Department of State Art in Embassy winner Sunhee Kim through May 31. A Korean-born American artist, Kim’s new series of oil paintings feature Jack the Mouse (a stand-in for the artist) as he strolls through changing landscapes and colors and experiences the healing emotions and memories provided by nature. Her work has appeared in numerous embassies and galleries in Europe and Asia.

Main St. Gallery’s 2018 show schedule has opened, running through May 27. If you missed their opening reception, stop in anytime this month to see new works by John Aquilno, Jack Frazier and Margaret Lee. As always Main St. Gallery features local award-winning artists such as Lynne Lockhart, Kirk McBride, Kevin Fitzgerald, Lee Alban, Kathy Daywalt, Meg Walsh and many others.

Addresses and contact information for the galleries may be found by visiting the Annapolis Gallery Association website at www.artinannapolis.com.

Patrice Drago is a painter, writer and artist in residence at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. This column is written in cooperation with the Annapolis Gallery Association. Contact her at art@patricedrago.com or visit www.patricedrago.com.

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